No, this isn't a bat or an alien from outer space! writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).
It is in fact a Poplar Hawkmoth in the hands of a child.
My friends John and Richard, two country rangers, had left out a moth trap overnight with the intention of opening it up next morning for an audience of the interested and curious.
I do lots of moth trapping myself but this site was different habitat, so promised different moths.
Having said that was my reason for attending, it turned out my greater enjoyment stemmed from seeing the reaction of the kids present to the excitement of examining the moths one by one as we fished them out of the trap.
Some were quite unsure to start with but before long were handling even enormous and perhaps even scary examples with great delight and confidence.
Even the youngest were also asking lots of intelligent questions and were obviously getting well and truly hooked on wildlife as we watched.
At one point the wee lassie next to me had a moth scuttle from her hand up her sleeve.
I told her to point up, as moth will generally climb upwards.
Sure enough it scuttled back to her hand.
Upset might have been a natural reaction to this incident, but she was truly delighted and giggled as she told us how it had tickled!
Much as the poplar hawkmoth was popular, its gasp factor was eclipsed by a stunning pink and olive Elephant Hawkmoth.
Moths by day are fairly sedate and drowsy, allowing gentle handling and admiration.
It was wonderful to see the great care, respect and gentleness with which these kids passed moths to one another.
So much for the “indoor generation” and their lack of connection with nature.
I am now optimistic.